23 March 2011


Jane's head was reeling with questions. What did Chase have to do with the local artist's murder? Was that why he'd come back to town? And why was he no longer involved in the investigation? For that matter, why had the police abandoned the investigation altogether?

She doubted that she'd ever know the answers to all of these questions, but there was one place she could start.

And that place was Chase Cruz.

"Chase... we need to talk."

Chase's eyebrows raised in surprise, and for a moment she was sure he'd refuse to let her inside; but after a few seconds he simply nodded and gestured towards the front door. "Sure, come on in."

She realized that she'd never seen the inside of Chase's house. The one time she'd ever been here, it had been to drop Sophie off. As she followed him through the foyer, she was surprised at the color and warmth of the house's interior. Chase had never had all that much taste in... well, anything, and the decorations looked as if they'd been picked out by somebody else. Maybe Lucy's mother, she realized. Whoever that was.

"What's this about?" Chase asked once they'd shut the door. He'd never been one for small talk, and their last encounter had left a lot of unresolved tension. Jane fidgeted nervously as she tried to figure out the best way to bring up the subject.

"Who was Amy Jenkins?" she eventually asked, deciding on the direct approach.

Chase's face froze in a surprised expression. He opened and closed his mouth several times, trying to figure out just why exactly Jane was standing in his hallway asking about Amy Jenkins, or how she'd even heard about her.

"She... was my ex-fiancée," he replied finally. "Lucy's mother."

It was Jane's turn to be surprised. She'd been ready to hear just about anything, but that was one scenario that hadn't crossed her mind.

"She died about six months ago, and I came here for Lucy. It's kind of a long story," he added, glancing at Jane. When she gave no sign of reply, he continued, explaining just who Amy had been, how he'd left her, and how she'd been found dead.

"And did you... did you..." She couldn't bring herself to ask the one question that had been on her mind since she'd left the library.

"You mean, did I kill her?" Chase asked, his face darkening with anger. "I may not be perfect, and I'm certainly not necessarily the best boyfriend, but I would never have done anything to harm Amy. The police asked me all of this already, Jane. You're not going to uncover anything they haven't spend months trying to do themselves." He laughed bitterly. "Besides, it's none of your business."

"It kind of is!" she exclaimed. "I don't want my kids doing homework here or eating dinner here or sleeping over here if this is the house of a... a... murderer!" Jane finished vehemently.

"For Pete's sake, Jane, I didn't kill her!" Chase yelled, wincing as he realized that they could possibly wake up Lucy. "My family's already been through this nightmare, Jane. You don't have any right to waltz in here and dig it up again. It's over. Finished. In the past." By the time he finished, his voice had returned to its normal volume.

Jane said nothing, but merely looked at Chase, as if to weigh the sincerity of his words. "I'm sorry," she mumbled finally. "I know you wouldn't kill anyone. It's just... it really freaked me out," she explained. "There you were in black and white, being handcuffed and accused of murder. And I didn't know anything about it."

"Well, why would you? We hadn't spoken in years." Chase shrugged and looked away. "You're an ex-girlfriend, Jane. What happens to each of us... it doesn't concern the other anymore."

They fell silent again, aware that the conversation had wandered into uncomfortable territory.

"Well, I guess I should be going," Jane said helplessly after a few minutes. "Isabel probably needs to be fed, and the twins will be in bed..."

He nodded, staring at her in an intense way that made her feel slightly uncomfortable. "You'd better get going... Oh, wait. You've got something on your cheek. An eyelash, I think." Chase reached out to brush it away without thinking.

He pulled his hand back immediately, but not before Jane had had a chance to react to his touch. Her skin felt warm where he'd touched her, and a slight flush was spreading across her face. After all this time, he could still make her feel like the most important person in the room, like he was a fire that burned only for her.

It was surprising, especially after all that they'd been through, and it was certainly the last thing Jane wanted at the moment, but there it was. 

It's just his natural charisma, she told herself firmly, stepping back a few paces. He'd always been that way; the minute he walked into a room, any girl in the place started swooning. It didn't mean she had any kind of residual feelings for him. If anything, it had just been a knee-jerk reaction.

Still, as she said her goodbyes and started to drive back home, she couldn't help but shake the feeling that things were veering completely off track.

The next morning, as Jane sat in her boss's office and waited for her to finish glancing over her very first article, she felt only slightly better about the previous night's events. She hadn't decided quite what to tell Moe about the murder investigation, or the connection to Chase, or the awkward moment in his kitchen. Instead, she'd gone straight to the den and started typing away at the article, chattering nervously every time Moe checked in on her.

What had resulted was a 1000 word summary of the murder and its subsequent investigation, and a short paragraph at the end about Amy's art. Not exactly what her assignment had stipulated, which was why Jane was slightly nervous as she waited for her boss's critique.

"It's crap," Celina said finally. "Complete and utter crap."

"What?" Jane was flabbergasted. "I worked really hard on that! And I'm not exactly a bad writer," she declared defensively. "I was an editor for my college's literary magazine!"

"It's not bad writing, Jane." The editor was quick to placate her newest employee's obviously bruised feelings. "It's just... not what I asked for. You're not an investigative reporter. You're supposed to write little fluff pieces about local art exhibitions and Little League games and the local theater company. That kind of stuff. I didn't hire you to try to dig around into a cold case or win some kind of prize for hard hitting journalism."

Jane was still seething internally, but all she did was nod and smile. "Of course. I'll rewrite it and email it back to you by 2," she assured Celina.

"I mean it, Jane," her editor warned. "I don't want you wasting company time sniffing around at a case that's been dead for months. You've got a job to do."

"Don't worry, boss." As she left Celina's office, Jane couldn't help but smile to herself.

Celina hadn't said anything about what she could do on her own time.

She began by tracking down everybody who had been friends with Amy Jenkins. The list was surprisingly small for such a lively person, but most people Jane talked to wouldn't admit having really spent any time with the artist. Either they hadn't counted Amy as a close, personal friend, or they didn't want to be involved in any discussion about her murder. 

But eventually, she found people who would talk.

"Miss Morris? Hi, I'm Jane. We spoke on the phone?" 

"Oh, Jane!" The stylist beamed effusively at her, glancing at her clothes and hair in a way that made Jane worry she was about to be the recipient of some kind of guerrilla warfare kind of makeover. 

"I'm writing an article about Amy's art," Jane explained hastily, before Angie could get any ideas. She'd already thought of a convincing cover story for her questions, and she'd brought along a notepad in order to facilitate the scheme. "I hate to bring up such a sensitive subject, but I was hoping you could perhaps share a bit of what she was like with me?" 

"Oh, sure! I was her roommate in college, you know." Angie started rattling off a long list of anecdotes about Amy and her wacky ways, and it was all Jane could do to jot down her notes fast enough. According to Angie, Amy had been a friendly and intelligent girl with very a lot of talent, and a bit of a track record with men. 

"So she had a lot of boyfriends in college?" Jane asked innocently, her pen poised on the pad. 

Angie shook her head. "No, not so much in college. She had a steady boyfriend she'd been dating since high school, but it didn't last. He wound up cheating on her after they got engaged, and after that..." She shrugged nonchalantly. "She was never really serious with anyone after that, especially when she found out... well, you know. But a few years later she started dating again, and she definitely had a type, you know what I mean?" 

Jane shook her head. "What kind of type?"

"Well, she was always going after the bad guys. You know, leather jackets, tattoos, cigarettes, rock and roll." Angie smiled fondly as she thought about her old roommate. "Not my kind of guys, but Amy sure liked them. Didn't bring them home to meet Lucy, though. But then, why would she?" 

"Was she with any of these guys the night she... you know?" Jane asked cautiously. She hadn't mentioned that the real reason for her interview was to dig around in Amy's murder, and the subject might make Angie reluctant to talk.

"No, not that I know of." Angie shook her head thoughtfully. "In fact, it had been a few weeks since she'd mentioned seeing anyone. I think she was kind of trying to sort things out. You won't write about any of that, though, right?" she asked as an afterthought. "I don't really want anyone remembering Amy as some kind of skank."

"Don't worry, Angela," Jane assured her. "I definitely won't." She thanked the stylist for her time and headed to the outskirts of Twinbrook for her next interview.

Her next stop was to meet Matt Schtick, a firefighter who'd known Amy since elementary school. "She was my oldest friend," Matt reminisced sadly. "We'd known each other since the first grade, when she moved to town and no one else wanted to play with her. And we were pretty much attached at the hip ever since."

"So you knew her pretty well then?"

Matt nodded. "Better than almost anyone else, I'd wager. Not as well as Angie, perhaps, but yeah, we were pretty close. I was really broken up when..." He couldn't finish the sentence, and Jane didn't blame him.

"That's okay, Matt, we don't have to talk about that. If you want you can just tell me a little of what she was like, and maybe some of her art?" She smiled reassuringly at him.

"Oh, her art!" Matt's face brightened considerably. "She was so talented, you know? I kept telling her her stuff would wind up in the Met or the Louvre someday, next to Picasso and Da Vinci and all those dead guys. She'd always say I was too biased to give a good opinion."

"I've seen some of her stuff- it is pretty good!" Jane smiled at him again. "How long had she been painting?"

"Since we were little, really. Truth be told, she stopped focusing on her art as much after college," he frowned.  "I always thought it had something to do with that Chase guy. Never liked him. And then when he left, she was never really the same. Always a string of guys, one douche after another." Matt scowled.

"Did you two ever date?"

"Who, me and Amy? Nah, I wasn't her type," Matt waved dismissively. "No tattoos or dyed hair or piercings. Besides, after Chase? I don't think anyone really had a chance." He smiled at her wryly. "He really did a number on her, that one."

"Great, thanks." Jane finished writing her notes.

"No problem. Just promise me you'll let me know if you catch the bastard who killed her." 

"Will do," Jane promised as she headed back to her car. But with no real leads and an embargo from her boss, her investigation of Amy Jenkins' murder was heading down a dead end. After a day of inquiries and interviews, she was no closer to understanding what had happened than she had been sitting at the library desk, staring at about Chase's likely guilt. And despite everything that had happened, she was inclined to believe him when he said he hadn't done it.

But if Chase hadn't done it, who had?


So, this is yet another post that I had not planned to be QUITE this way. I had Jane visit Chase's to interview him, like the post said, and then I answered an IM from a friend, and lo and behold- when I went back to the Sims window, there were Jane and Chase, flirting. And SHE initiated it. Sigh. Aren't family-oriented Sims supposed to NOT flirt with people outside of their marriage?

Anyways... Yeah, tore myself away from Sims Medieval to do this post. It wasn't quite as hard to focus as I anticipated, because as much as I love the Sims Medieval, it's just not geared as much towards families and storytelling. As far as I can tell, there's not really a generational thing going on (which makes sense, since it's focused on quests and adventures rather than the minutia of everyday life), so I was really missing the Pesces!

Ooooh.. Things certainly got steamy there for a second between Chase and Jane. Can't blame her--he's smooth, and just sort of that way with gals... But I'm not too concerned for her. Chase seems to have grown up at least a little bit. ... Maybe. >.>

Hmm! Well, Jane certainly has taken an interest in the case, and I can't blame her. It's a bit eerie. I wouldn't want to live in a small town where a girl lived, got murdered, and the murderer was never caught. Though, Jane's definitely just the curious type... but she's going down roads the police already would've went down. So if she wants to dig deeper... *chin scratchy*

It's interesting learning a bit more about Amy, too. Hmmmmm... So, was it one of her boyfriends, was it a jealous woman like Jenny, was it something to do with her art? HM!

Go Jane, Go! I'm confident she can get to the bottom of this, eventually... And I'm excited, but scared, for her. :S

Hahaha--I was curious how that flirting got started! XD Definitely surprised me when I saw that one picture and they loooked like they were getting closer.. and closer...

Awww. Yeah, I figured Sims Medieval was gonna be a totally different kind of game. But it sounds like you're at least enjoying it! I just have a feeling that it'll be so much like WA that there'll be a point where you run out of quests, and the game is just... over. But, a good change of pace, hopefully. :) I'll pry get it eventually, but I'm going to wait a little bit first.

Surprised me too, ahaha. I was like "BAD GIRL. BAD BOY."

Chase is rather smooth for an Unflirty Sim, I've got to say. Does not seem to be living up to his trait.

Jane's a REALLY curious Sim, and she's not going to let it go because yes, it is creepy, and yes, she does feel like she has a personal interest to clear suspicion from Chase, even if he's no longer a suspect. Plus, she's a reporter now, so she's going to have a hard time NOT digging. Besides, if she doesn't look into it, I've got no plot!

Amy is a rather interesting Sim! You'll just have to wait and see who did it.

Yep it's definitely different, but as far as I'm aware, there are so many ambitions/quests/ways to do the quests that it'll take a LONG time for it to run out of fun.

LOL! Well, stuff like that always adds more dimension to the story. It's good to let them loose for a little while just to see what they do on their own. ^^

Teeeehheee--Yeah, I definitely see that in Jane. She's so very much like Meredith in some ways! Oooo. I can't wait to hear more about Amy. >:D

Mmm--well, I'm definitely considering getting Medieval. Probably once it's knocked down in price a bit--though I may need it for something Blog-related at some point within the next few months.. *chin scratchy*

Another great chapter.

Jane, don't play with Chase. That's a bad girl.

Poor Jane, her first article knocked back for too much info about an old cold case.

I can see that Jane won't let this one go till she solves the case.

@ Kaleeko: Most of my story's plot has been determined by things they did when I wasn't looking. And I learned the hard way that when I *want* them to do something, they make it difficult. It took me practically an hour to get Jane and her boss to cooperate.

Oh ho, something blog related? I'M INTRIGUED. More time machining?

@ PiB: Thank you!

Yes, Jane is a bad girl. Chase plays dirty.

I think her problem is her imagination! She really should have been a self-employed writer, rather than a journalist, but then I wouldn't have had such an easy way to tie my plots together.

:) I've been known to put a Sim in a career just to make the flow work.

I really am interested in where Chase is going in your story. I have a soft spot for bad boys. LOL

I am not sure where Chase is going (other than not dying, of course!) but I am like... 80 percent sure it is NOT with Jane!

I was going to edit out the flirting, but I figured it would make for good drama if nothing else. And even when I got Jane to stop flirting, Chase wouldn't. I even lowered their relationship >.<

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